James Middleton

September 24, 2008

2 Min Read
Commissioner's axe hangs above EU text and data prices

EU telecoms commissioner Viviane Reding has been sharpening her axe again this week, proposing to cut the price of roaming text messages by as much as 60 per cent by next summer.

On Tuesday the European Commission warned that EU citizens travelling in other EU countries should pay no more than Eur0.11 per SMS compared to the current EU average of Eur0.29. a deadline of July 1, 2009, has been set for prices to fall by.

The decision to clamp down on data charges comes as no surprise. Earlier in the year Reding warned that she would turn her attention towards data, having successfully forced roaming voice rates down by 60 per cent last year. “We are punishing our young students, our young travellers, and that is completely unfair,” Reding said.

On average in the EU, sending a text while travelling abroad costs 29 euro cents per message, but that can climb to as high as 80 euro cents in certain countries.

Europeans travelling outside their home nations send 2.5 billion text messages every year – paying 10 times more than they do at home.

The Commission said it also wants to improve transparency for surfing the web and downloading data on a mobile phone while abroad, protecting consumers against roaming “bill shocks”. From summer 2010, consumers should be able to specify in advance how high their data roaming bill can go before the service is cut off.

It also looks like Commissioner Reding hasn’t quite finished with voice charges yet either. There are further proposals to bring the capped prices down yet again, from Eur0.46 for calls made abroad and Eur0.22 for calls received abroad to Eur0.34 for calls made abroad and to Eur0.10 for calls received abroad by July 2012.

The EC’s proposals will now be submitted to the European Parliament and Council, who must agree before they become law.

EU Consumer Commissioner Meglena Kuneva said: “If Europe wants to deliver concrete results for its 500 million consumers, then practices whereby operators charge for a service which they do not deliver should not be acceptable. Today, consumers are overcharged by 24 per cent on average for mobile calls they make abroad as roaming calls are very often charged not by the second, but only by the minute. A priority for us is fair treatment of consumers when they cross a border and this is why the Commission decided today to introduce the principle of per second billing for all roaming calls”.

About the Author(s)

James Middleton

James Middleton is managing editor of telecoms.com | Follow him @telecomsjames

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